Steamboat Bill

Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library

We extend particular thanks to the Steamship Historical Society of America and its Executive Director, Matthew S. Schulte, for permission to reprint Gerard Jensen's charming memoir, first published in the Fall 1967 issue of the Society's journal, Steamboat Bill.  The Society, headquartered in Warwick, RI, was organized in 1935 as a means of bringing together those amateur and professional historians interested in the history and development of steam navigation, past and present.

Membership in SSHSA includes a subscription to Power Ships, as its quarterly magazine is now called.  Dues are in various classes, beginning at $50.00 for Annual Members. Visit its websites at and

This author note appeared at the conclusion of the 1967 article:

"Gerard E. Jensen is Professor Emeritus of English at Connecticut College. Born in Norwich, Connecticut, he developed an early affection for the Thames and its steamboats. After taking his B.A. and Ph.D. at Yale, he was a teacher of English at Yale, Cornell, and Connecticut. Since retirement he has continued to live in New London."

In 2019 we have revised it to reflect the passing of half a century:

Gerard E. Jensen was born in Norwich in 1884 and died in New London in 1970, three years after this memoir was published. His widow, Dorothea O. Jensen, died a few years later. They were survived by their son Oliver O. Jensen (1914-2005), co-founder and editor of American Heritage Magazine, author of Carrier War (1945) and several other books. Oliver Jensen also edited and wrote a Foreword to Connecticut Railroads - An Illustrated History (1989), by Gregg M. Turner and Melancthon W. Jacobus; Connecticut's steamboat and railroad history are closely intertwined and this book provided us with useful background material. The McGuire Library's copies of Steamboat Bill from the l960s and 70s are from the estate of Oliver Jensen

We also acknowledge information about the steamship Block Island contained in Norman J. Brouwer's Steamships on Long Island Sound (2014).

                                            ----Brian Rogers, Librarian (2009-2019), New London Maritime Society